Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Departmental Honors




High school English as a Second Language (ESL) students often feel separated from their schools and communities. These feelings of separation can lead to low engagement and low achievement despite the students' desire to do well in school. One method used to counter low engagement in mainstream classes is service learning, but there is little research on service learning with ESL students. In this study, an existing group of 9th grade ESL students was taught and observed to determine the feasibility and effectiveness of using service-learning methods. The project endeavored to tie academic work to community involvement and therefore increase student engagement and academic confidence. Throughout the implementation of the service-learning project, students displayed increased classroom involvement and reported improvements in attitudes and self-assurance. The methods and procedures described in this paper can be adapted to larger class sizes and a variety of projects in order to increase engagement and academic confidence in ESL students.



Faculty Mentor

Sonia Manuel-Dupont

Departmental Honors Advisor

Phebe Jensen

Capstone Committee Member

Joyce Kinkead